2023 Permaculture Design Course
June 17 - July 1, 2023
A Professional PDC
The internationally-recognized Permaculture Design Certification (PDC) course has been taught around the world for almost four decades. Given permaculture’s early emphasis on agriculture, most of these courses have been oriented primarily towards an audience interested in homestead and farm design.
But as permaculture has been applied to an increasingly wide array of problems, the demand for PDC’s tailored to other audiences has also exploded.
One of the key emerging challenges is how to apply permaculture’s regenerative design tools in professional design contexts. To meet this need, Wheaton Labs has teamed up with Alan Booker from the Institute of Integrated Regenerative Design to present a PDC specifically targeted for design professionals such as engineers, architects, urban planners, landscape architects, and those interested in pursuing permaculture design at larger scales.
The 2023 Wheaton Labs PDC is structured to meet all of the requirements for the 72-hour Permaculture Design Certification while also being aimed at a professional audience. The course is presented at a graduate school level, meaning that students are expected to already have undergraduate-level knowledge of physics, chemistry, and biology.
Many of the permaculture concepts have been updated and expanded using the latest in peer-reviewed science and professional practice.
• Understanding the climatological, hydrological, and ecological context of your projects
• Working with the emergent properties of complex systems
• Designing in nested wholes to create systems that behave like ecosystems
• Using GIS and other geospatial tools to perform hydrological and geotechnical analysis of large-scale projects
• Using next-generation tools such as SFG Maps and the Regenerative Scales of Permanence
• Creating designs that regenerate watersheds and restore soil fertility, produce nutrient-dense real food, and support healthy human communities
Since this is a design course, students will be assigned to small design teams and start working on design exercises on the first day. During the second week, students will transition over to working on their final design projects individually. The capstone of the course involves each student individually presenting their design project to the class.
Students from previous years, many with several decades of professional experience, have commented that this course completely reframed the way they view design. Download the full course outline for more details on course content.
Who Should Attend
This course is specifically designed for those interested in using permaculture as part of a professional design practice. This includes:
• Engineers and Scientists
• Architects and Landscape Architects
• Urban Planners
• Agroecology and Agroforestry professionals
• Professional permaculture design consultants, or those interested in becoming professional designers
This course is presented at a professional level and includes long days so students should come prepared for an intense learning environment.
Students who successfully complete the course requirements will receive an internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certification (PDC) certificate from Wheaton Labs.
In order to receive a certificate, students must meet all of the following requirements:
• Attend and participate in all class sessions
• Complete all design exercises and assignments throughout the class
• Complete an individual final design project, creating all required design elements
• Present the final design project to the class
• Participate in the Talent Show on the final evening of the course
Dates and Times
The 2023 course begins on the evening of Saturday, June 17, with a welcome dinner and orientation session beginning at 6:00 p.m. Mountain time.
Students should plan to arrive at Wheaton Labs no later than 5:00 p.m. to allow time to check in and get settled. Those who are flying should schedule their flights to arrive no later than 3:00 p.m. if possible since it is about an hour drive from the airport to Wheaton Labs.
The course concludes on the evening of Saturday, July 1 after the talent show and the presentation of certificates. The course does not typically dismiss until around 9:00 p.m. on the final evening, so students who are flying should plan to leave on Sunday, July 2.
Class will run every day except Saturday, June 24, which is a break day.
The daily schedule will vary somewhat to accommodate special activities, but the general schedule for a day will be:
7:00 – 7:45 a.m
7:45 – 8:00 a.m.
Logistics and Announcements
8:00 – 8:15 a.m.
Review and Questions
8:15 – 9:45 a.m.
Class Session 1
9:45 – 10:15 a.m.
10:15 – 11:45 a.m.
Class Session 2
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Class Session 3
2:30 – 3:00 p.m.
3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Class Session 4
4:30 – 5:15 p.m.
5:15 – 6:00 p.m.
Break, Team Work Time
6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Evening Session or Design Time
Alan Booker is the founder and executive director of the Institute of Integrated Regenerative Design, which trains professional design practitioners to create systems that are ecosystemic, biocompatible, and regenerative. With a degree in electrical engineering, he has over 30 years experience in systems engineering and 20 years in sustainable and regenerative design.
With deep hands-on experience designing large-scale sustainable systems, Alan is a LEED AP™ BD+C (LEED Accredited Professional in Building Design and Construction), WELL AP, Accredited Green Roof Professional (GRP), holds Living Futures Accreditation (LFA) for working with Living Building Challenge and Living Community Challenge projects, and is the creator of the Integrated Regenerative Design (IRD) framework and the Biocompatible Design standards. In addition to teaching Permaculture and Integrated Regenerative Design, he also provides consulting and workshops on earthworks, watershed management, soil remediation, composting, forest gardening, holistic management of pastureland, keyline design, aquaculture and aquaponics, Net Zero buildings and off-grid energy systems, and natural building systems.
Chase Jones is a permaculture designer and consultant with a background in anthropology, conservation archaeology, ecology, and geospatial analysis. He is the co-founder of Biodesic Strategies, a permaculture design and construction service that offers ecological design and green infrastructure installation. Working throughout northwest Arkansas and surrounding areas, Biodesic Strategies also hosts educational and community events that promote the wider adoption of regenerative and sustainable design approaches.
For the PDC, Chase will bring both his practical consulting experience and background in the geospatial sciences to the process of helping students understand the tools needed to capture site data, synthesize an accurate base map, and develop a working understanding of any design site.
Paul Wheaton is the founder of Permies, the world’s largest online permaculture community, and the founding director of Wheaton Labs.
After starting his career as a software engineer and founding Coderanch, a popular online forum for programmers, Paul decided to pursue his interests in gardening and sustainable design, becoming a Master Gardener and discovering permaculture soon afterwards.
Paul has now published hundreds of videos, podcasts, and articles promoting permaculture around the world, is the author of the book Build a Better World in Your Backyard, and is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences and events globally.
Helen Atthowe taught Master Gardener courses for 17 years, creating the manual for the course in Western Montana. Helen studied with Masanobu Fukuoka and has been learning how to pay attention to the land and apply his farming principles to her commercial organic farms for over 35 years, while also adding and developing ecological farming principles of her own. She has managed everything from permaculture food forests and vegetable gardens to a 2,000 acre organic commodity farm.
She has an undergraduate degree in Agroecology, an MS in Horticulture, and research towards a PhD in Entomology, focused on how reduced-tillage affects beneficial organism populations and crop biological control.
Matthew Stone has a BS in Biological Systems Engineering from Kansas State University. His studies focused on the confluence of environmental, agricultural, and bioprocess engineering and the interrelationships between those fields. He has worked in both a soil water research lab and agricultural engineering research lab studying how changes in long-term weather patterns affect soil hydrology and agricultural yields.
He has over 3 years of experience in the landscape construction industry and currently works as an assistant project manager for a high-end residential landscaping firm, executing the construction of multi-million dollar installations in New England.
Matt received his Permaculture Design Certificate from Alan Booker during the 2021 Wheaton Labs PDC and is now returning to help out with the 2023 course.
Permaculture Design Course (PDC)
June 17 - July 1, 2023
- The only advanced Permaculture Design Course available, presented at a graduate level for design professionals
- All the requirements for a Permaculture Design Certification, with even more peer-reviewed permaculture science
- Explore permaculture at Wheaton Labs
Note: 80% refunds up to two weeks before the event starts. If you are not comfortable with being recorded, please do not attend. Tobacco free and drug free site. Paul Wheaton, as event host, will offer all course attendees three simple meals per day at no charge, but food is not included with your ticket. If you have special dietary needs/desires, you might want to bring your own food and use our rocket cook stoves, ovens, solar ovens and other outdoor kitchen equipment.
Location and Travel
The course is held at Wheaton Labs, located outside of Missoula Montana. Wheaton Labs was created to host a wide variety of projects covering many areas of regenerative design research and therefore hosts a wide array of experiments under active development, ranging from early proof-of-concepts prototypes through to fully-functional systems ready for mass adoption.
Given its rural location, there is no mass transit serving Wheaton Labs. This means students must either drive or fly into the nearby Missoula International Airport (MSO).
Wheaton Labs will provide a private forum for all students, allowing coordination of ride sharing for those interested. Those driving will be sent driving directions upon registration. Students arriving by air can arrange for a pick-up at the airport to avoid the need for renting a car.
Meals and Lodging
All meals are made with organic or better ingredients. Vegetarian and vegan options are usually available at most meals, but those requiring special diets should plan on bringing their own meals.
Free on-site camping is available for all registered students. Wheaton Labs also has various other accommodation options available for an extra charge. Please see the Wheaton Labs information page for more details.
What to Bring
Students will be sent a list of required and recommended materials when they register.
The Permaculture Design Certification course is a drug-free, tobacco free, and alcohol-free environment. Any student violating these policies will be asked to leave with no refund.
The course is a professional learning environment and students are expected to treat it as such. Students disrupting the class or being disrespectful to other students will typically be given a single warning. The staff reserves the right to ask any student to leave the course with no refund if, in their opinion, the student continues to be disruptive. Gross misbehavior will result in immediate dismissal.
Students who do not fully complete the course requirements as stated above, or who fail to complete course assignments to expected standards, will not be awarded with a final PDC certificate.
Students may make audio recordings for personal use only. The course contains copyrighted materials, so students are asked to refrain from making recordings publicly available. No pets are allowed at Wheaton Labs. Properly certified service animals are welcome.
Wheaton Labs is a private facility that hosts numerous experimental projects at various stages of completion, so not all areas are fully accessible. Please contact Wheaton Labs to discuss if you have specific accessibility requirements.